THE LONG-running debate around the future of a large lot in East Perth used for parking took a new turn recently, with Perth council accepting a report on community consultation.
Developers have targeted 70 Haig Park Circle a number of times over the past four years, but it is subject to a restrictive covenant reserving it for parking.
Until now, proposals have floundered on the restrictive covenant, but at the most recent Perth council meeting, City chief executive Martin Mileham noted that the covenant was a private agreement and not part of the design/planning framework.
Local residents concerned about plans to develop the site have considered civil action against the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority (MRA).
Councillor Judy McEvoy said “an exceptional amount of work” had gone into the study of the site but residents remained unhappy.
Cr James Limnios asked what the City could do to promote “more robust consultation with land owner and residents”, given the land is controlled by the MRA and not the City.
He urged council to co-ordinate a meeting between the City, residents and the landowner to address anxiety.
Cr Reece Harley said common ground could be reached between residents and the landowners to “work together on the most appropriate development for site”.
“Parking must be addressed… but we can do better than a single level bitumen car park”, he said, noting that a court removing the restrictive covenant in the future remains a hypothetical scenario.
Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi said Cr Harley was “spot on” in his comments.
Charles Foti from the Haig Park Circle Action Group identified a number of local concerns about the lot being developed.
He said in 2002 EPRA took steps to protect residents from any change relating to the carpark.
“The property was marketed and priced accordingly and a restrictive covenant placed on the land to protect its status, and… residents are entitled to rely on this assurance,” he said.
“Consequently the property currently does not have any building guidelines as it was never intended to be used for purposes other than carparking.
“Government authorities entrusted in protecting the restrictive covenant for the welfare of residents, (and) should not make decisions based only on commercial considerations.”
Mr Foti stressed that there should be no reduction to the current 49 public parking bay facilities.
“Any development would need to maintain a minimum of 49 bays for public use,” he said.